Readers’ comments: February 9, 2024

Thank you to Square i Gallery
Dear editor:
We want to say a big thank you to Marodeen Ebrahimzadeh for sharing his knowledge and quality art for 33 years in Claremont [“Village loses art ‘institution,’ as Square I relocates,” February 2].
It has been an amazing experience to go to the Square i Gallery. We always feel “We are not in Kansas anymore.” The calmness and art are welcoming us. Then soon, our imaginations are stimulated, our hearts are nourished. It is such a rich experience.
Marodeen’s gallery is not only for gazing at art. He is making a space for every one of us, an opportunity to grow our sensitivity to quality art.
We will miss having Square i Gallery in Claremont.
Sumi Foley and John York


Has the Village lost its local flavor?
Dear editor:
Last week’s article in the Courier, “Village loses art ‘institution,’ as Square I relocates,” said it all. It was a night of heartfelt goodbyes and hugs last Saturday night as Square I Gallery closed up shop in the Village to relocate in the Claremont Business Park in north Claremont. Rising rents have become a fact of life in the Village, as other favorites like 50-Fifty Asian Fusion restaurant faced the same reality a year ago. In the case of Square I Gallery, a rent increase of $1,800 a month seems ludicrous, but an LA landlord obviously does not agree.
The unique charm of the Claremont Village is slowly being eroded as much-loved proprietors of popular retail shops and small restaurants are forced to close their doors and move elsewhere. The real question is how much longer downtown Claremont will remain a destination for locals and out-of-towners, as bland retail stores move in? Perhaps the City Council will make this issue a priority and consider rent control that will limit rent increases to the cost of living index before it’s too late.
Mary F. Weis


Special election price tag was not a waste
Dear editor:
In his February 2 letter to the editor [“Outcome of special election push speaks for itself”], former Claremont Unified School District Board member David Nemer claims that it was “unrealistic and disingenuous” for me to suggest that the district could have quickly and cheaply settled its legal dispute with Riley’s Farm.
In a September 25, 2018 letter to the CUSD board, the attorney for Riley’s Farm offered to forego a lawsuit if the district ceased its illegal boycott and paid Riley’s “not yet substantial attorney’s fees.” Having practiced law for almost 40 years, and understanding that the district had nothing to gain by contesting the claim, I personally urged the board to settle the dispute on these favorable terms.
The board foolishly refused to do so; and while insurance may cover the immediate financial consequences, every dollar that has been wasted on this lawsuit would otherwise be available for public school instruction in Claremont and other districts throughout California.
We should hardly be surprised by Mr. Nemer’s indifference to this fact.
Two years ago, Mr. Nemer was a member of the board which fired former CUSD superintendent Jeff Wilson without cause and paid him a severance package valued at more than $300,000. As the board refused to provide any justification whatsoever, we cannot know if this decision — which had a direct and significant impact on the CUSD budget — was legal or ethical. It certainly wasn’t necessary.
I agree with Mr. Nemer and other critics of the CUSD special election that wasteful spending should be avoided, but let’s keep our priorities straight. We should be outraged at secret deals which transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars of public funds, and reckless decisions to pursue meritless litigation; but we should gladly pay the price for elections to hold our officials accountable. We literally cannot afford not to.
Jim Belna


Suggestions to remedy Courier’s ‘liberal bias’
Dear editor:
The liberal media bias is alive and well in Claremont.
There were at least 11 editorials regarding the CUSD Board of Education special election over a seven month period. No attempt was made to understand the other points of view, a common problem with our local paper, and the reason for my profuse letter writing to try and do so.
We live in such a diverse and interesting landscape that is LA, the Inland Empire, and surrounding areas, although the Courier doesn’t cover much regional news. For example, the LA City Council corruption. This is certainly appropriate to our community and would make for a great story in the Courier. Some investigative journalism — how about a three-part series on crime and violence trends in the Pomona Valley, or a piece on how other communities are handling road diets.
The Police Blotter rarely mentions home break-ins or other types of crimes in our city. Are we only seeing a selective sample of activity?
The recent piece on January 6th had inaccuracies and just furthered the democrat narrative instead of delving into newly uncovered facts that have been previously hidden from the public.  Surely, with all the local academic resources and brilliant minds at the colleges, the Courier can feature a range of opinions and perspectives on local, regional, national and world topics.
Not enough human interest. I want to know my neighbors, read about, and read features written by, members of our diverse community regardless of their opinions.
Growing up in Claremont, reading the Courier was always a shared community moment seeing photos of people, reading about an accomplished person who lives or works here. An editorial or two that were balanced in thought and position. The paper brought us together despite our differences.
You can do better, and maybe subscriptions will increase.
Campbell Wright


Defund government immigrant assistance
Dear editor:
I write to express my reservations about allocating taxpayer funded assistance of any kind to immigrants, both legal and illegal, and advocate for redirecting these resources to benefit our deserving military veterans. While compassion for those seeking a better life is important, we must prioritize our citizens and those who have selflessly served our country, especially considering the out of control government deficit spending and resulting mounting public debt.
Providing taxpayer funded assistance to immigrants, particularly those here illegally, can inadvertently incentivize illegal immigration and foster dependency on government support.  Redirecting these funds towards programs that promote self-sufficiency and meaningful employment is crucial in maintaining the integrity of our immigration system. By encouraging immigrants to seek employment and support themselves, we promote the development of a strong work ethic and discourage reliance on government assistance. This not only benefits individuals but contributes to the overall health of our society. The emphasis should be on fostering an environment where hard work and self-reliance are valued.
Furthermore, redirecting resources to support our military veterans is a moral imperative. These brave men and women have sacrificed for our freedom and often face challenges upon their return to civilian life. Prioritizing their well-being by providing benefits such as healthcare, education, and employment assistance is a just and honorable use of taxpayer dollars.
In conclusion, I urge policymakers to reconsider the allocation of taxpayer funded assistance to immigrants and focus on initiatives that promote independence and self-sufficiency. Redirecting these funds to support our military veterans not only honors their service, but also aligns with principles of responsibility and fairness.
Kris M. Meyer


Palestinian community leaders’ misplaced blame
Dear editor:
Thank you to community representatives for the interviews in the January 26 edition of the Courier [“Checking in on Gaza: Jewish, Palestinian leaders speak out”].
Rabbi Kupetz, and Mr. Moss gave a complete and articulate examination of the situation between Israel and Hamas, recognizing that, “The current war began with Hamas brutally massacring, beheading, and raping Israel civilians. Israel responded in a war of self- defense …” (Rabbi Kupetz). Mr. Ayloush never mentions Hamas in his responses. Ms. Judeh mentions Hamas twice but pivots to the narrative of comparison that what Hamas did, “… is in no way comparable to what the civilians in Palestine and Gaza have been subjected to.” Who are the civilians in Palestine? Where is Palestine?
Hamas is recognized globally as a terrorist organization with a charter goal to destroy Israel and the Jewish people. That is genocide. Hamas’s indiscriminate rape, murder and mutilation of Israeli women and children is a war crime. The willful deletion of Hamas as the cause of the current conflict makes it appear that Israel is either fighting a ghost (if not Hamas then who?), or Palestinian civilians, neither of which is true. These leaders belabor the narrative of the victim and the victimizer, with the Palestinians as the victims, and Israel as the victimizer, putting full responsibility of the situation in Gaza in Israeli hands. The fact that Hamas uses Palestinians citizens as human targets, launches rockets (over 10,000 since October 7) on Israeli civilians from underground tunnels dug under homes, mosques, schools, and hospitals is never mentioned.
Neither of these two leaders mention anything about the hostage situation where Hamas currently still has 136 hostages, including a baby who celebrated his first birthday as a Hamas hostage. To me that is a war crime. This war began with Hamas, and, as Mr. Moss stated, “ … Israel would absolutely stop all war efforts if Hamas would return all the hostages.”
Carol Oberg

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